Since1987, the Berkshire Food Project has provided hot, nutritious lunches to needy people from northern Berkshire County at the First Congregational Church in North Adams. As the economy struggles and food prices rise, there is a greater demand for our services as more working families turn to BFP for help. People on fixed incomes often find themselves having to choose whether to pay for their medications, fuel, or food.
In 2011 and early this year, our cash income fell, in part due to reduced Federal and state support. Meanwhile, our costs rose, due to an increased demand for our services (our meals served rose from 23,771 in 2010 to 27,037 last year). As a result we had to send an emergency appeal letter in March. This netted $22,021, enough to cover our accumulated deficit through the summer. In conjunction with this, we also improved our financial reporting, switching to better software and hiring a bookkeeping agency to prepare our monthly statements—yet we are on track to spend less for accounting services this year. In addition, when we recently hired a new Kitchen Manager, we did so at fewer hours per week, which will save us salary costs going forward. In other words, we’re working harder while tightening our belts. We hope to have our first full audit in 2013, though we are far below the usual audit threshold ($250,000) for agencies like ours.
We have been members of the Northern Berkshire United Way (NBUW) since 2002. After seeing our response to our cash deficit earlier this year, the NBUW rewarded us with another generous increase. But NBUW funding still covers only about ten percent of our annual budgetary needs.
The Berkshire Food Project (BFP) needs your help to continue its important mission in the northern Berkshire region. Please use the enclosed envelope or donate securely online via PayPal (http://www.berkshirefoodproject.org/) for your tax-deductible contribution. We ask you to support us at a level you find appropriate to your income. If you would like to do more, we can advise you on how to make us the beneficiary of an IRA charitable rollover or a bequest.
Please feel free to stop by the First Congregational Church any weekday after 10 a.m. to see us in action or call us at 664-7378 if you’re interested in volunteering. Thank you for your generous support.
James Mahon, Board President Valerie Schwarz, Executive Director